Extreme weather alert: police warn drivers to take extra care on the roads today

Multi-vehicle collision on the A41 near Bourne End.
Multi-vehicle collision on the A41 near Bourne End.

Police are warning motorists in Herts to take care on the roads due to the extreme weather the county is experiencing.

Strong winds and rain are currently affecting much of the county and drivers are being advised to leave extra time for their journey and to drive according to the road conditions.

Drivers should keep their speed down and avoid sudden braking which could result in the loss of control to their vehicle.

A nine-car collision on the A41 near Hemel Hempstead during a heavy hailstorm earlier today closed the trunk road for a time – click here to read the full story

The Highways Agency advises the following:

- Take extra care on the roads and plan your journey by checking the latest weather conditions.

- Be aware that although high-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather, strong winds can also blow other vehicles off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees.

- When the road is wet it can take twice as long to stop. Slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front – follow a four-second rule.

- If your vehicle loses grip, or “aquaplanes”, on surface water take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Do not brake or steer suddenly because you have less control of the steering and brakes.

- Try to avoid driving through surface water as you might flood your engine.

- If you have to drive through floods, drive slowly, use a low gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. When driving an automatic vehicle, engage and hold in a low gear.

- Test your brakes after driving through water; they may be ineffective.

- Stay up to date with the local weather conditions by checking the forecast for the area online or on TV/radio.